Catie Laffoon

One of the more surprising moments of the 2015 American Music Awards on Sunday night (Nov. 22) was the finale of Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor’s joint performance, as the pair finished their duet of “Marvin Gaye” with an extended make-out session onstage. Looking back on the provocative performance, Puth tells Fuse that he never intended for kiss with Trainor to become so hot and heavy.

“I wanted it to be a quick thing,” says Puth of the kiss, “but they [the show producers] kept yelling in my ear, ‘Keep going! Keep going!’ And I wasn’t going to back off… I didn’t want it to look awkward. Maybe, in theory, I should have done that.”

Puth and Trainor clarified soon after the performance that they were just friends, and Puth says that the friendly kiss was Trainor’s idea. “At first I was like, ‘Oh no, I don’t know if I want to do that,’” he recalls. “Not because I’m so mortified to kiss somebody onstage, but I was concerned thinking it would just be about that. [But] I got the idea of what they were going for in terms of the creative direction, and it just made sense to tie it all together. I realized that that’s why I made ‘Marvin Gaye.’ I made it for people to instantly react and feel like they’re falling in love with each other.”

The “Marvin Gaye” and “See You Again” crooner says that he hoped that people enjoyed the performance that preceded the smooch, but understood that, after continuing the kiss for several seconds, he knew that the ending would be everyone’s focus. 

“I was a little irked when they told me to keep going—I was like, ‘Okay, we’re done, right?’” he says. “I was so happy with the performance, but I saw the look on my publicist’s face [afterwards], which was like, ‘Holy shit, what did you just do?’ I sort of forgot to tell her I was doing that.”

At that point, the social media posts were a necessity. “We both looked at each other and thought, ‘Well, we better clear this up immediately,’” says Puth. “It was record timing, one hour later — ‘We’re just friends!’ I also don’t want people to see me out with other girls this week and be like, ‘He’s cheating on her! He’s a pig!’ No, I’m not!”

Puth believes the chatter surrounding the performance will die down as he approaches the release of his debut album, Nine Track Mind, due out on Jan. 29, 2016. The album will include “Marvin Gaye,” which has peaked at No. 21 on the Hot 100 chart, as well as his new solo hit “One Call Away.”

“The countdown has begun, and I’m super excited,” Puth says. “I mean, I produced [this album] in my bedroom — it’s very special to me.”